Dear Parishioners, Priests and Deacons of the Chorley Pastoral Area,
The Priests of the Pastoral Area met on Tuesday 30th June to discuss the implementation of the cautious re-opening of churches for public worship. Whilst all present acknowledged the great desire of people wishing to return to church, mass, and Holy Communion, we were also very aware of the restrictions placed upon us in doing so. In the light of the age and health of some of the Priests, the restrictions in place and the number of volunteers needed, it was decided that in the first instance we would only open two churches for mass. This would be St Gregory’s and St Mary’s which are both large churches with easy access, and where a one way system can be followed easily.
Mass times will be as follows:
St Gregory’s Monday - Saturday 8:30am, Sunday 9:30am (masses will continue to be LiveStreamed behind closed doors at the other mass times)
St Mary’s Monday - Friday 12:00noon, Saturday 5:00pm, Sunday 10:30am
It is important to emphasise that the Sunday obligation has not been re-instated; people who are shielding or at risk should not feel obliged to attend any mass; people who have had any symptoms of COVID 19 should not attend for at least 14 days after the symptoms first appeared. Those who can are encouraged to attend a weekday mass so that those who cannot, can attend at the weekend without the churches being overcrowded.
Restrictions that will be in place include the wearing of face masks and giving personal details for track and trace purposes. Social distancing of 1 metre+ will be observed and so maximum numbers of 80 (St Gregory’s) and 120 (St Mary’s) are allowed.
Some churches may open for private prayer and the celebration of the other Sacraments (restrictions of 30 people attending), please see your parish newsletters or websites for individual information.
As Priests we realise that this cautious approach may disappoint some Parishioners (and Priests) but it was felt that the safety of all is paramount and that it is better to be safe than sorry. The re-opening of churches will be reviewed locally and by the Archdiocese on a regular basis. Please continue to pray for each other and keep safe.
God Bless you all
Fr Graeme Dunne (Dean of the Chorley Pastoral Area)
Further details of what to expect can be found here